Voodoo Season

Written by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Review by Janette King

New Orleans in early 2005 is the setting for the mysterious string of deaths of young people—all women but one, all dead of no apparent cause. One of the dead women is pregnant, far enough along that the attending physician is able to save her baby. Strangely, the baby reminds the doctor so much of her own mother that she names the orphan Marie, after her. The doctor’s attachment to the infant compels her to become involved with the investigation into the baby’s mother’s death. That involvement also means involvement with a handsome police detective called Reneaux.

The second of a mystery trilogy, Voodoo Season is a contemporary look at voodoo. The historical connection comes in the form of dreams that carry Dr. Marie Levant back to the 19th century, back into the memories of another Marie, her ancestor Marie Laveau. Leaving us with three Maries… or is it just one?

Jewell Parker Rhodes’ characters are capably drawn, although not all are outstanding—Dr. Marie is good, but the best is the villain Allez. The strength of this novel lies in the voodoo itself. The dream sequences are haunting and compelling, and the otherness of this mystery prevents it from ever being too much of a formula novel.